I have been blogging about weight loss surgery and healthy living for the past six years. I have noticed a distinct pattern, more of a personal focus, in those posts. They take on a positive, upbeat tone. I tend challenge people to live a happier life. I personally made changes in my life that did transform how I live.
I seldom talk about the bad things that creep into my life. Life change is not black and white. There are times when bad habits and past history conspire to pull me off course. I thought I would share six challenges I face more often than I would like to experience.
- Larger portion size. Bariatric surgery limits portion size in my meals. The math is simple. Lower the calories in and you maintain a healthier weight. As a weight loss surgery post-op, I need to be conscious of portion size. It can easily edge up. This is especially true of the things I love to eat. The only cure for this bad trend is to monitor my food intake.
- Not watching my protein. A high protein diet is a key success factor for maintaining a healthy metabolism as a post-op. I have stopped counting grams of protein as I became comfortable with my lower weight. I know to cure this ill that I need to eat proteins first at meals and make sure my pantry has an abundance of lean high protein foods.
- Eating after exercise. I am an avid cyclist and find myself on runs and hikes through the week. Long and strenuous activities make me hungry. It can be difficult to pass up the easily available not-so-good choices of an after workout snack. I know my body needs fuel. I just need to work on making that fuel healthy fuel. My best course to follow is to head home and not pull into fast food. I make sure my pantry has healthy snacks.
- Not prioritizing support. I am a proponent of support networks for bariatric surgery post-ops. I like to be active in my local support groups. This summer life has gotten crazy for me. Bike rides, runs and hikes get the priority above support group meetings. I shamefully have not been to a single meeting over the past six months. I need to change that. Support needs to be higher in my priorities. It’s a matter of time management. I know I can make time for things Ireally want to do.
- Get serious about my running. I set a very ambitious goal for 2014. I am running the Akron Half Marathon in four days. I started strong in training and weakened as the summer passed by. I have worked myself up to 6-7 mile runs once or twice a week. I am uncertain if I am strong enough to finish this race. As a goal oriented person, I know success is based largely on being committed and prepared. Looking back, I did a poor job of carrying that plan out in my running routine.
- Making time for myself. Nine years ago I found myself recovering from a heart attack and triple coronary bypass. Six years ago I found myself 100 pounds heavier and unhealthy. In 2008 I committed to be a healthier person. One of the changes I made was to free time on my calendar for me. I made what I called “Tom time”, time for me to enjoy life and be active. It is through that time that found my love of cycling and the outdoors. Six years later I find volunteer activities encroaching on my free time. I need to be more cognizant of managing my time and learn to say “No” more often.
The thing about bad things is that we have some control over them. We may not have full control of everything that happens in our life. The following quote from James Owen has it right. Bad things do happen but in the grander scheme of our life, they a just a smaller part of a larger story. Acknowledge the bad things but more importantly, thrive in the good things of life.
“Bad things can happen, and often do–but they only take up a few pages of your story; and anyone can survive a few pages.” — James A. Owen